Apexigen has collaborated with the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium (PBTC) to carry out a Phase I trial evaluating the safety and tolerability of APX005M for the treatment of recurrent or refractory brain tumours in paediatric patients.

The dose escalation trial will be conducted at the participating academic medical centres and children’s hospitals of PBTC across the US.

They are currently responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of a sizable proportion of children with primary brain tumours in the US.

APX005M is an investigational immune activating compound that targets CD40, an immune co-stimulatory receptor necessary to the activation of both innate and adaptive immune responses against cancer.

“We believe that CD40 activation is a very promising area of immunotherapy for cancer.”

Apexigen noted that currently there is an unmet need in paediatric oncology for effective treatments for central nervous system (CNS) tumours.

Immunotherapy is considered a promising area of investigation in clinical oncology, and APX005M is expected to provide further benefit to complement the currently used immune checkpoint inhibitors.

PBTC Steering Committee chairman Ira Dunkel said: “We believe that CD40 activation is a very promising area of immunotherapy for cancer, and we are happy to be collaborating with Apexigen to evaluate APX005M in our pediatric patients.”

Apexigen is primarily engaged in the development of a new generation of antibody therapeutics for oncology, with a focus on new immuno-oncology agents that could harness the patient’s immune system to combat and eradicate cancer.

The company uses proprietary product discovery platform, APXiMABTM, to develop APX005M and other preclinical programmes.

Apexigen president and CEO Xiaodong Yang said: “In a Phase I study, APX005M has demonstrated immune stimulation in adult patients with solid tumours.”